[KB130] Minimize the risk of a malware attack


Although it is not possible for any antivirus system to completely eliminate the risk caused by infiltrations and attacks, you can significantly minimize your risk of infection by following some best practice strategies. Use these strategies in combination with the protection you expect from your ESET product to help keep your information safe.

In the rare event that you are infected by malicious software (malware) and your ESET product is unable to remove the infected files, contact ESET Technical Support.

Protect yourself with your ESET product

Practice safe internet browsing

Keep your computer protected

North American Users: Learn about staying safe online


Protect yourself with your ESET product

  • Keep your detection engine current — The specialists at the ESET virus lab analyze internet threats throughout the day and release regular updates to continually improve the level of protection for ESET users. By default, your ESET product updates the detection engine several times a day. These updates enable rapid detection of new threats and keep your computer well protected.
  • Use a firewall — ESET Smart Security Premium, ESET Smart Security and ESET Internet Security include a firewall to protect your outgoing and incoming communications. Learn more about firewall filtering modes in ESET Windows home products.
  • Keep Real-time file system protection enabled — By default, Real-time file system protection launches at system startup and provides uninterrupted scanning of all types of media. Files are scanned again immediately after each virus signature database update. If you disable Real-time file system protection, the ESET icon next to the system clock will turn red, notifying you that maximum protection is not ensured. You can re-enable it from the main program window by clicking the red protection status icon in the top right corner of the main program window and clicking Enable real-time file system protection.
  • Keep ESET Live Grid Enabled — This preventative system helps your ESET product keep you safe from the latest threats. Learn more about ESET Live Grid and make sure it is enabled in your ESET Product.
  • Know what your protection status means — The ESET icon next to the system clock will stay green as long as maximum protection is ensured. View our guide to the Protection status icon colors.
  • Perform regular computer scans — In addition to Real-time file system protection, the On-demand computer scan is an essential component of your security routine, particularly if you are a high-risk user or suspect that your computer is infected. Schedule a regular On-demand computer scan to detect threats that were present prior to the installation of your ESET security product, potentially harmful files that are dormant and were not detected prior to an update of the detection engine and infections that may have occurred while the Real-time file system protection was disabled.

Practice safe internet browsing

  • Restrict access to suspicious websites — Restricting access to suspicious websites is particularly useful if there are multiple users accessing the internet on your computer. Antispyware in ESET products allows you to block certain websites or entire domains. ESET recommends blocking the following domains: .co.cc, .cz.cc.
  • Choose secure passwords.
  • Keep your passwords secure — Do not give your passwords out to anyone or keep them written down in an easily accessible place.
  • Beware of phishing and spam — Do not open email from unknown senders. Learn how to recognize spam. Scan all attachments before opening or downloading them. Do not discuss important information via unsolicited emails (or phone calls) without verifying that the sender is authentic. Most legitimate financial institutions will not ask you to give them sensitive account information via email, particularly if it is unsolicited. You can report an email or website that you suspect is designed to steal your personal data to ESET as samples of phishing.
  • If you weren't looking for it, don't download it — Avoid downloading files or programs that you were not looking for, as they could be from untrustworthy sources. Malware authors often use messaging intended to persuade users to perform a download that contains malicious software (see Email, Spamming, Hoaxes and Phishing).
  • Use a pop-up blocker — Although not all pop-up windows are malicious, pop-ups can be part of phishing scams or a gateway for virus downloads. Clicking the pop-up windows to close them may install the threat. Close pop-up windows by pressing Alt + F4 on your keyboard or using Task Manager. Learn more about pop-up blockers and how to set them in your respective browser by clicking one of the links below:

    Microsoft Internet Explorer

    Mozilla Firefox

  • Exercise caution with attachments and downloads — Do not open email attachments from unknown users, or from known users if you were not expecting them. Scan all files with a virus scanner before downloading them.
  • Teach children safe Internet practices — If you have children, discuss safe internet browsing practices with them. You can also use the links above to restrict access to suspicious websites.

Keep your computer protected

  • Back up your important data — Malware infection often leads to total malfunction of the operating system and damages important data. It is important to regularly back up your important and sensitive data to an external source such as a DVD or an external hard drive. These precautions make it far easier and faster to recover your data in the event of system failure.
  • Do not change default settings unless you are an experienced user — Make sure you know the consequences of changing a setting before you alter it. Changing certain system settings may put your computer at risk and should not be done unless you are fully informed of the potential repercussions.
  • Download security patches — Software companies watch closely for new vulnerabilities in their applications and regularly release security updates that eliminate potential threats. It is important to download these security updates as they are released. If you are running Windows, learn more about automatic updates from Microsoft.


North American Users: Learn about staying safe online

One of the best ways to avoid becoming the victim of an attack is to learn more about the methods malware authors use. The more you know, the less likely it is that you will fall victim to such an attack.

Installing security software is the first step toward cybersecurity. The second step is educating yourself about safe internet practices. ESET North America customers have access to ESET Cybersecurity Awareness Training that will help you to stay safe online. ESET Cybersecurity Awareness Training takes you through real-world cybercrime scenarios using animations and educational exercises.

Need Assistance in North America?

If you are a North American ESET customer and need assistance, visit helpus.eset.com to chat with a live technician, view product documentation or schedule a consultation with an ESET Home Advisor.